Positive Environment News

US Dockworkers Target Pollution Cuts at Ports

Date: 01-Feb-06
Country: USA

A recently adopted rule requires ships to burn a cleaner marine fuel in auxiliary motors within 24 miles of a California port, but there are no regulations for the main - diesel - engines, California Air Resources Board spokesman Jerry Martin said.

Without new pollution controls, regulators expect the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach will contribute 20 percent of all air pollution in the Los Angeles basin by 2025, he said.

Regulators, in a study last year, said diesel fumes from the two ports - the busiest US commercial port complex - raise the risk of cancer for people living up to 15 miles (24 km) inland.

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which represents 60,000 dockworkers on the West Coast, and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced the move at a freight transport conference in Long Beach, California, studying ways to improve the air quality at ports.

The ILWU aims to cut emissions from diesel-fueled vessels calling at West Coast ports by 20 percent by 2010 and to reduce pollution from trucks and cargo-handling equipment on the docks, ILWU President James Spinosa said in a statement.

The union and Villaraigosa will push shipping lines, state and federal officials, and dockworkers in other countries to use cleaner marine fuels and new technologies to cut back pollution levels.

The report by the California Air Resources Board said 50,000 people living closest to the two ports face a higher-than-average risk of developing cancer from port pollution alone.

Jim McKenna, chief executive of the Pacific Maritime Association, which represents West Coast shipping companies, said "reducing emissions and expanding port capacity are both connected and a priority for the maritime industry."

Reuters
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